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Communication problems that give way to medical malpractice cases

One of the main reasons we hear about so few medical malpractice cases in the news is due to the fact that most cases are settled outside of court. In fact, only 7 percent of all cases actually ever make it in front of a jury. In cases in which they do, doctors risk having their wrongdoing exposed to the public. This can have a significant impact on their reputations and ability to earn a living.

If you were to learn of the reasons malpractice cases get filed, you might would be surprised. A doctor failing to communicate effectively with his or her patient is one of the primary reasons that patients ultimately end up suing doctors.

This is particularly common in situations in which a patient feels that the treatment he or she received failed to meet his or her expectations. In other cases, patients file lawsuits against their doctors because they believe they didn't show enough concern when complications were reported.

According to a study conducted by the Marks Healthcare Consulting Group, patients they interviewed reported that, in general, doctors are thorough in explaining the procedure they're looking to have performed on them. However, when it comes to alternative treatments, the patient might also consider the inherent risks they face, the patients note this is where doctors are most lacking in terms of open communication.

The researchers found that even in situations where the doctor thoroughly discusses alternatives or risks, doctors rarely make an effort to verify that the patient actually understands what he or she was agreeing to have done.

Further, they found that doctors seemed to downplay the risk of complications associated with different procedures. In some cases, they found that even if only 1 percent of cases were to result in complications, in those cases doctors were to say the risk was virtually non-existent. In those rare cases in which there were complications after making such statements, patients reported having felt mislead.

The organization also discovered that in many cases like this, whether or not a patient files a lawsuit against their doctor for medical malpractice depends largely on how their concerns are addressed after it's reported. If your concerns about the handling of your treatments or procedure have been met with denials or hostility from your doctor, then you might benefit discussing your case with a Chicago medical malpractice attorney.

Source: Diagnostic Imaging, "The do's and don'ts of medical malpractice," Dylan Fisher, accessed July 21, 2017

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